Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post Post subject: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:44 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
This is sort of a philosophical topic that’s more for thought then discussion, but I welcome anyone who would like to post on it because I find it very interesting and would like to hear other people’s takes on it.

Around Thanksgiving time I occasionally hear of incidents where atheists complain about the religious tones the holiday involves. Christians of course respond by asking what they expect, thanking God is the point of the holiday. The atheists reply that no, the point is simply to be thankful. The focus on God should not be a forced part of that. They can be thankful for their good fortunes without directing that thanks to God.

This is a concept that I find fascinating. Is it truly possible to be thankful for something without actually thanking a specific entity?

On the surface it sounds fine to say ‘I don’t have to thank a deity for my blessings, I just am thankful for them because I know I’m fortunate’ but if you really think about that I don’t know if it holds up. I don’t believe, at the heart of things, you can just ‘be thankful’ as a general state, you have to at some point be directly giving thanks to a direct being. General thankfulness comes out of that, but it can’t be removed from that. If you aren’t thanking an entity, at least subconsciously, then you wouldn’t be thankful. You could have a recognition that you’re fortunate, but you wouldn’t have a sense of thankfulness for it. To be thankful you need the action of giving your thanks, it’s not a passive attitude.

Now that I’ve typed this I see that these thoughts were much clearer in my head, but hopefully you can see what I’m getting at here.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:12 pm 
Whittier than you
Whittier than you
User avatar
SnC. I miss you!

Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:21 pm

Posts: 5963
Age: 3

Cash: 781.26
Bank: 0.00
What you're saying is: to "be thankful" you have to "give thanks" to someone. there is no general state of thankfulness where one does not "give thanks".

_________________
1x admin, 2x moderator. 3-26-11, 5-25-12
Image
Jehoshaphat wrote:
I mean every election is basically just choosing what type of government we want.

#FOREVERKITTY


Top
  Offline Profile  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:24 pm 
The Council isn't corrupt
User avatar
The State is a lie

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:56 pm

Posts: 3593

Cash: 1,001.97
Bank: 0.00
I think atheist and others are perfectly capable of being thankful with the state of things without giving that thanks to someone. The definition of thankful is "glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc." I think you're being a bit nit picky, it also seems rude to tell atheist that they really aren't feeling what they say their feeling. If they feel thankful then let them be thankful, can atheist only feel depressed and angry?


Top
  Offline Profile  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:51 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
Okay, let’s back way up before this continues. You completely misinterpreted what I’m looking at.

The only reason I mentioned atheists is because that’s where this thought came from originally. I’m distressed you took my post as rude because I wasn’t directing it at anyone or meaning it to be attacking at all - I said it was just for thought. I’m not telling atheists, or anyone else, whether they can or can’t feel something. I’m sure that they genuinely think they are feeling is thankfulness, or they wouldn’t have labeled it as such. And that’s great. All I’m wondering is if, at the heart of the matter, that’s what it actually is or if it’s technically something else. Yes it’s somewhat nitpicking, but that’s what philosophy is.

Of course I don’t think atheists can only be angry! I’m shocked and hurt you would fire that at me when it’s not at all where I was looking. I hope everyone can be thankful for the good things in their life!

Take atheists out of the conversation if that gives the discussion a less offensive appearance, it doesn’t matter to me because I wasn’t focusing on them.
Can anyone feel what is understood to be thankfulness without the component of somewhere, whether they realize they’re doing it or not, giving their thanks as a direct action. It’s my understanding from contemplation on the state of thankfulness that it is a resulting state, not an initial one.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:06 pm 
The Council isn't corrupt
User avatar
The State is a lie

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:56 pm

Posts: 3593

Cash: 1,001.97
Bank: 0.00
Yes, I think anyone can feel thankfulness because as my definition stated it has nothing to do with giving that thanks to someone or something. Forgive me for my assumptions.


Top
  Offline Profile  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:19 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
John Chrysostom wrote:
my definition stated it has nothing to do with giving that thanks to someone or something.
Indeed it did, but obviously I find your definition oversimplified.
This is one of the rare instances where my mind goes beyond legalism and is enveloped in thoughts of... I don’t even know what to call it it’s so foreign to me. :P
But as I said, in contemplating thankfulness, it seems to me that you don’t start as thankful, because... again, hard to explain since I don’t usually think this way, but for lack of a better way of putting it you simply can’t just be thankful independently. Again, you can certainly realize there are things you should be thankful for, but to move on from that realization to actual thankfulness I see people identifying their fortunes and then giving some... some recognition, a direct acknowledgment of them, and from that they enter the state that is actual thankfulness.

I should just stop here. I really want to have this discussion because for reasons unknown my mind finds this the most fascinating think to think over, but it’s impossible to do when I can’t find the words to voice what exactly it is I find fascinating.

One more try, from another angle. Sort of the reverse of how I first approached this topic. (Maybe I should have started here, I don’t know.)

When the atheist says ‘I just am thankful, I don’t have to thank someone’ is it possible they’re both correct and incorrect because they don’t fully realize what’s happening? Perhaps they are indeed truly thankful, and simply don’t acknowledge that part of that is the act of giving thanks, because it’s so ingrained in our minds that giving thanks means thanking a deity.
I would hold that internally, they are giving thanks, because again they wouldn’t be thankful if not, but because they don’t believe in deities they are simply giving their thanks to... life, to nature, to fate, whatever you want to identify it as, the point is they are directing their thanks somewhere and that is why they are thankful.
It has to be given, but not exclusively to a god, just to some direct entity. The necessary component is the action of giving, not who or what you’re giving to.

I’ll stop now, this is just spiraling. Again, super clear in my head, not so much in words.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:20 pm 
I guess I'll stick around
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:02 am

Posts: 230
Age: 9

Cash: 47.91
Bank: 0.00
Well, I actually find this quite interesting as well, but, to this I would propose a further definition. Being thankful is the state of feeling ready to give thanks for something if you find someone who is responsible. To elaborate on this, let's say you get a much needed gift from someone, left on your doorstep, but have no idea where it came from, but are very thankful for it. You have no one directly to give thanks to, if you are an atheist, but, I would argue you can still be thankful. Now, you may argue that you are still thankful to this unknown benefactor, even if you don't know who they are, they are still the object of your thanks. While this is true, I ink the definition above allows you to be thankful even in circumstances where you don't even know a person was involved. Like, for instance, a friend, knowing you need money to care for your sick child just having lost your job, leaves a stray $100 dollar bill near your door. Now you, finding it, may have no idea that anyone even left it for you, but you can still be thankful for finding it.

You can, of course, also be entitled, miserly, or put it to chance, but you can still feel thankfulness, I think.

Also, atheism is a state of mind that, I believe, can be deceiving. Even if at this moment you say, or consciously think, that there is no God, I believe, having come to Christ late myself, that there are still hints, and this feeling of general thankfulness may be one of God's revealing Himself in nature. Something that connects once the connection is made.

On a similar theme, I am an extremely optimistic person, and honestly, before coming to Christ, it didn't make complete sense. I mean, I really didn't expect someone from somewhere would save me from everything or that I alone truly could fix everything, but, I did always feel everything would work out. Why? Doesn't optimism at some level also require a Savior just like thankfulness requires an entity to be thankful to?

Indeed this is a curious topic, and I hope to hear more. The only way to unravel this crazy thing we call our mind is to keep talking about it :)

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:56 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
I really like your angle, thanks for sharing. I agree with your view, but I disagree that it contradicts mine. If you get a gift from an unknown giver you certainly are thankful even though you have no one to direct your thanks to, but you are still expressing thanks because you know there was a giver, you just don’t know who it was. So you can’t say ‘I thank 'nameofperson'’ but you are saying ‘I thank whoever did this’ because you know it was someone. So you’re still directly thanking an entity, the entity simply remains unidentified.

Which brings us around to the atheist simply ‘being’ thankful again. They don’t identify the target of their thanks as God, but I hold they do have a target. They are, even if they don’t realize it, sending their thanks somewhere because they realize, at least subconsciously, that someone, or at least something, gave them what it is they’re thankful for. Perhaps they’re simply thanking life itself for turning out the way it did. It doesn’t matter who or what the recipient is here, what matters in my context is that there is a recipient.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:51 am 
darcietastical
darcietastical
User avatar
Nothing to see here.

Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:37 am

Posts: 7105
Age: 40
Gender: Female

Cash: 159.09
I always find these conversations rather funny, having grown up agnostic/atheistic until my mid-20s. It is somewhat the same issue that Christians will have about not understanding how those without God can actually have morals. But yes, even people who do not know God have the ability to have morals, to be optimistic, to be thankful. These feelings exist to them, even though God does not. I suppose some people may insert a Mother Nature figure or the Earth itself as the object of their thankfulness, but not always.

It feels like maybe what you're getting at is that atheists observe a god without admitting it? That a Christian may say they're praying for someone, while a non-Christian would "send good thoughts," and they'd actually be the same thing?

And if it is all the same thing, the prayers and good thoughts, the trust in God or just hope, the morals followed due to God's laws and those due to simply caring for other humans in the world, the thanks to God and the undirected thankfulness, then what really is the big deal?

_________________
"I know nothing about internet dating sites other than the ToO." - Baragon


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail Facebook  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:33 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
darcie wrote:
It is somewhat the same issue that Christians will have about not understanding how those without God can actually have morals.
Off the topic, but I’ll quickly address it anyway because I have to say that I have seen this confusion from Christians and I don’t understand it at all. You don’t need to believe in a god to have morals, morality comes from your views on human dignity.
darcie wrote:
It feels like maybe what you're getting at is that atheists observe a god without admitting it?
Absolutely not. I was afraid someone may read that into this, because I can see where it may look that way, and other people probably would try to make that connection, but I myself am not. I’m not looking at this from a point of trying to trick people like ‘Ha, got you! You are sending your thanks somewhere, so it’s really to God you just deny it!’ That’s totally off the point. All I’m looking at is what is going on in the heart of the matter in a thankful person, atheist, agnostic, or devoutly religious. It’s not about atheists, that was just one example, it’s about anyone.
darcie wrote:
And if it is all the same thing ... then what really is the big deal?
Nothing! I never said there was a big deal here. I don’t have a problem with atheists being thankful without thanking a god. Clearly using atheists as my example skewed people’s understanding of what I’m getting at because it makes them think I must have a ‘gotchya’ angle, but I don’t.
Let me present what I’m looking at another way.

Forget the God part. My focus isn’t that an atheist says ‘I’m thankful without thanking God.’ That’s fine, it doesn’t matter. My focus is on ‘I’m thankful without thanking’ and you can cut it off there. It’s not that I think they don’t realize or admit they’re thanking God. They know if they’re doing it or not, I don’t care. My only angle is the ‘being thankful’ without any action. Again, I believe that to reach the state of being thankful you first give out your thanks. I’m not saying it has to be to God, I’m not saying that whatever you say it’s going to it’s really going to God even if you don’t realize it, I’m just saying you’re giving it somewhere.

So my point isn’t to claim that an atheist is being disingenuous or is misunderstanding what they’re doing at all, I’m just saying that if someone says ‘I just am thankful’ they’re not fully recognizing what is going on. For an example (though clearly this is no clearer than my first two attempts, I really don’t know why this concept is so difficult to get across) the attitude of someone who fully realizes what they’re doing is not simply ‘I am thankful’ as if the state is self-effecting, but it is ‘I give thanks for this, therefore I am thankful’ because the action of the giving results in the state.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:51 am 
darcietastical
darcietastical
User avatar
Nothing to see here.

Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:37 am

Posts: 7105
Age: 40
Gender: Female

Cash: 159.09
bookworm wrote:
darcie wrote:
And if it is all the same thing ... then what really is the big deal?
Nothing! I never said there was a big deal here. I don’t have a problem with atheists being thankful without thanking a god. Clearly using atheists as my example skewed people’s understanding of what I’m getting at because it makes them think I must have a ‘gotchya’ angle, but I don’t.

I'm meaning here that I'm not wondering what your big deal is, but more the big deal of the divide between believers and non-believers. :)


I do see where you're going, you're saying simply to be thankful, there has to be a person that is thanked. Let's explain this in grammar terms. Such as in writing a sentence, there is the subject, You, the thankful person, the predicate, Being Thankful, and the object of the predicate, The One Being Thanked. But an object does not have to exist for a sentence to be grammatically correct. And I don't think thankfulness needs an object either.

As far as the holiday of Thanksgiving, since I am a Thanksgiving baby and this is my favorite holiday, we're originally celebrating the harvest and giving thanks to God for the blessings around that. But as time has passed, we're not celebrating the things we've grown and harvested and the land we've established any longer. We're celebrating friends, family, food, time together, jobs, how fortunate we may be, or how we've made it through another year alive despite our lack of fortune. These can be celebrated without respect to a deity. Just as you acknowledge morality comes from your views on human dignity, so does the internal optimism of looking back at what we've had and forward to the good things (hopefully) to come. Secular people see these as more internalized feelings, or center them around their fellow man, and Christians are more likely to owe these feelings to God's blessings.

_________________
"I know nothing about internet dating sites other than the ToO." - Baragon


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail Facebook  
      
 Post Post subject: Re: thankless thankfulness?
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:25 pm 
ToO Historian
ToO Historian
User avatar


Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:10 pm

Posts: 14303
Age: 27
Gender: Male

Cash: 607.08
Bank: 56,000.00
darcie wrote:
And I don't think thankfulness needs an object either.
Neither do I, technically. This is way too fine a point for me to accurately put into words (as has been abundantly demonstrated) but I’ll try once more.
I’m just looking at it from the position that the giving of thanks is what makes you thankful. Just the giving. The action of giving. So we could argue whether since you’re giving it something or someone has to be receiving it at some ultimate point, but that’s even further than I’m looking here. I would say, in this situation, you can just ‘give out’ your thanks and it isn’t even necessarily going to anyone or thing, it’s simply and entirely the action of giving it out from yourself that I’m looking at.
darcie wrote:
We're celebrating friends, family, food, time together, jobs, how fortunate we may be, or how we've made it through another year alive despite our lack of fortune. These can be celebrated without respect to a deity.
Again, I am in agreement. A deity, or other tangible or direct object, to receive your thanks for your blessings is not what I’m arguing is a necessary component, it’s simply the act itself of giving your thanks. Everyone, whether they believe in God or not, recognizes that they have things to be thankful for. What I’m trying to get at is that simply recognizing that though isn’t what makes someone thankful for it, it’s expressing your thanks of that recognition that results in a thankful state.

_________________
Image


Top
  Offline Profile E-mail  
      
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
The site is in no way affiliated with Focus on the Family. "Adventures in Odyssey" is the registered trademark of Focus on the Family.